Pineapple upside down cake is a classic dessert that is so soft and moist, filled with the perfect amount of pineapple flavor!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is perfect all year long, but is an especially good summer time dessert! Be sure to check out our cupcake version of this recipe too because it’s just as good and simple.
upside down cake + our SECRET INGREDIENT
My mom has been making Pineapple Upside Down Cake for years. It’s a family favorite and a dessert recipe that my dad LOVES!
She has a go-to recipe for this delicious cake (from scratch), and we adapted it by adding almond extract, since it’s our favorite “secret” ingredient. 😉
What is pineapple upside down cake? When this cake is added to the pan, the pineapple and cherries are at the bottom and the batter is added on top. After it has baked and cooled you invert the pan and let the cake drop out onto a platter. The pineapple and cherries end up on top of the cake. In essence, it is cooked upside down from the way it is served.
What I love most about this treat is that it is so moist and delicious. The pineapple and cherry are the perfect addition to make this an incredible summer treat perfect for barbecues, parties and holiday get togethers.
how to make pineapple upside down cake
FRUIT. Melt butter, add brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue boiling for one minute and pour it into a prepared 9×13 pan. Place the drained pineapple rings (reserving ½ cup of the juice) and cherries in the pan, and set aside.
BATTER. Create the cake batter by first mixing dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls and then combining in a large bowl. While you’re still mixing, add milk, ½ cup reserved pineapple juice, and almond extract. Carefully spread batter over the pineapple rings in the 9×13 pan.
BAKE. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, or until the middle is cooked through. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes, and carefully flip cake over onto a serving platter.
cake flipping 101
When to flip pineapple upside down cake? You want to allow the cake to cool enough that the structure will hold up, but don’t wait too long otherwise the caramelized juices from the pineapple will harden making it difficult for it to release from the bottom of the pan.
I suggest allowing the cake to cool between 10-30 minutes before flipping it.
The tricky part to this recipe is being able to flip the cake once it’s done. Here are some tips for flipping it without any problems:
- Wait long enough for the cake to cool (at least 30 minutes)
- Use a sharp paring knife or a rubber spatula and slide it around the inner perimeter of the pan.
- Place the serving platter over the top of the pan. Be sure the platter is larger than the cake.
- Place one hand on top of the platter and one hand on the bottom of the pan, then flip.
- Allow the cake to sit for another few minutes with the pan still covering it.
- Carefully remove the pan.
VARIATIONS & Troubleshooting
Want to change things up with this cake? Here are a few suggestions:
- Cut some of the pineapple rings in half and line the sides of the pan
- Sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans in the bottom along with the cherries and pineapple
- You can serve this cake warm or cold. It’s delicious either way. If you serve it warm I suggest adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it.
Using a bundt pan: Preheat the oven to 350 °F and bake for 35-40 minutes or until done. Use a wooden skewer to check. If you want to make 9” rounds, preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes. Check if it’s done with a toothpick.
Why did my pineapple upside down cake sink in the middle? Since baking is a science, it can sometimes be hard to determine exactly what caused a recipe to go awry. For this cake, there are a couple factors to avoid that tend to cause a cake to sink:
- Opening the oven door too soon or too often can cause the oven temperature to drop which can cause the sake to sink.
- Using expired or too much baking powder can cause the cake to rise improperly. Either it won’t rise enough or it will rise too much, then fall.
- Not properly drying the pineapples can yield too much liquid which may cause the cake to become oversaturated and then sink.
Why is my pineapple upside down cake soggy? The biggest culprit of a soggy cake is excess juice from the pineapples. I suggest draining the juice into a bowl (don’t discard it since some of it is needed in the recipe).
Leave the pieces of pineapple in a colander to finish draining while you prepare the other ingredients. Finally, use a paper towel to blot any remaining juice before placing the pineapple rings in the pan.
Making Ahead and Storing
Make Ahead: Pineapple upside down cake can be made ahead of time. You can store it at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for a few days or even freeze it for a couple months.
STORE cake in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.
Whether you want to make this cake ahead of time or store leftovers you can do so in three ways. Be sure the cake has cooled completely before storing.
- Room temperature: Cover with plastic or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature.
- Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Allow the cake to cool and place it in the freezer for 1-2 hours; long enough to allow the outside of the cake to freeze. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap then again with foil. Label and freeze for 2-3 months.
- Reheat: Allow to thaw if applicable. Reheat you can always reheat it in the microwave, but I prefer loosely wrapping it in foil and placing it in the oven. Heat at 350°F until warm.
This classic dessert will be a hit at your next get together. Be sure to check out our cupcake version too! It tastes just as good and is great for parties.
For more cakes with fruit, try:
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter divided
- 1½ cups packed light brown sugar divided
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple rings in juice
- 10 maraschino cherries
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
- Melt ½ cup butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Set remaining ½ cup butter aside to soften.
- Stir 1 cup brown sugar into butter in the pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue boiling for 1 minute, then pour into the prepared pan.
- Drain pineapple rings, reserving ½ cup of the juice, and place rings into the bottom of the pan. Place a cherry in the middle of each ring. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, beat softened ½ cup butter, granulated sugar and remaining ½ cup brown sugar with a hand mixer until well combined. Add eggs and blend well.
- Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until well combined.
- While still mixing, add milk, ½ cup reserved pineapple juice and almond extract.
- Carefully spread batter over pineapple slices.
- Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the middle is cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Slide a sharp paring knife or a rubber spatula around the inner perimeter of the pan. Invert a serving platter larger than the cake over the top of the pan. Place one hand on the platter and one hand on the bottom of the pan, then flip. Allow the cake to sit for another few minutes with the pan still covering it, then carefully remove the pan and enjoy!
Kristyn, this looks so good I can almost taste it through my computer screen! I’ve always loved pineapple upside down cake, and this one looks like a winner. : D
Thank you, Joan!! You’re too kind!! 😀
Hi Kristyn, this cake looks wonderful! I have a question, as I am making this tomorrow for my husband’s birthday. In the ingredients, you have vanilla extract, in the directions, you have almond extract. I’m going to use vanilla unless you tell me different. Thanks!
your ingredients and directions don’t match- Will use a different recipe
The only thing that was different, was the vanilla & almond extract, but I fixed it 🙂
You’re welcome. Gee, so snappy when she is giving you this recipe for free.
I’ve made this a few times with the almond extract but find it overpowered the taste. I’m making it again as a request from my kids for Christmas and am going to try vanilla extract instead. Otherwise a delicious cake! One of our favorites!!
Pineapple upside down cake is my husbands favorite. I have tried several different recipes and this is by far the best. I substituted vanilla for the almond extract and used 2 9″ deep cake pans vs the 9×13. Thank you for sharing!
Glad to share 🙂 Thank you for saying this!
This looks delicious!! Can’t wait to give it a try!!!
My daughter loves pineapple! She can eat an entire can in one sitting if I let her; she will love this dessert!
This is such a classic, yummy cake! Sometimes, I just want a fruity dessert & this one is delicious!
My husband loves pineapples and when it’s in a cake it is even better! Delicious!
I love pineapple Upside down cake!! Can’t wait to make this!
We have so many favorites in our family! One would be pineapple upside down cake. My husbands favorite. He would prefer this over chocolate.my favorite part is the brown sugar that becomes carmelized.so easy to make!
Pineapple upside down cake is a big favorite here at our house. delish!
Love pineapple upside down cake and this looks insanely delicious!
Ive always loved This cake baked in a dutch oven while camping. Now i can get a taste of that at home.
I’m currently about 20 pregnant with our 5th amazing baby! I have been craving a good carmelized upside down pineapple cake and this recipe looks like the ONLY 1 that will end up being like I want it to be. Will update comment as soon as I’m done eating the 1st slice
Its 8 pm NOw. Should be done before long ! Hopefully it ends up as beautifully as yours has.!.
So, what did you think!! I hope you liked it! I know all about those cravings!
Just made THIS for COMPANy for dinner tonight. It looks amazing. Do I just leave it out on the counter until THIS evening?
Sorry, to have not gotten back to you sooner. I sure hope your company loved it. Yes, I would have left it out.
Made this tonight, best dessert I’ve ever made!!!
Woohoo!! I am so glad you liked it! Thank you!
This cake is not only beautiful, but it is so heavenly! The flavor and texture is amazing. Perfect Summer dessert!
One of my favorite cakes!! It is so moist! Love pineapple!
I FORGOT THE POSSIBLE ELEVATION DIFFERENCE MIGHT CHANGE COOKING TIME SO IF YOU LIVE HIGH UP IN THE MOUNTAINS LIKE I DO YOU MIGHT NEED AN EXTRA 10 OR 15 MINUTES OF BAKE TIME. I THINK MINE TOOK 50 MIN TOTAL.
Love how easy the recipe was to make. My 5 year old helped me and it was easy enough he could follow it without me.
My cakes currently cooling. Hoping it COMES out of the pan ok. It looks absolutely beautiful. Cant wait to cut into it for hubs birthday tomorrow (i know its best warm but its 97°F in the middle of summer and im not about to use the oven during the day.) We can have it cold and be happy i made i stayed up until MIDNIGHT to make it. I loathe baking in a heat WAVE.
I hope it was a hit! Thanks for sharing that! It’s a great reminder to those who are at higher elevation.
Loving this cake!
I used crushed pineapple instead of slices but followed your recipe otherwise.
Plan to put this it my recipe file and share with others.
Yay!! Thank you so much!!
This was my first-eVer attempt to make pineapple Upside-down cake, and it was A hit at our social DISTANCING celebrAtion FOr our mom’s 90th biRthdaY. It turned out beautifully APPETIZING. Your clEar directions Made for a fun prep. I made homemade whipping cream to top off the Perfectly moist servings. OuR mom requested this kind if cake, so Thank you for helping make Her birthday special.
That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you so much for letting me know 🙂 Hope she had a great day!
Delicious!!! Great recipe! You could use either extract depending on your preference. I used almond and it came out great tasting.
Glad you liked it! Thank you for sharing that!!
Are you sure the salt measurement is right in the 2020 version of the cake part of this recipe? One whole teaspoon is a lot of salt for 2 cups of flour. My grandson told me he COULDN’T eat it because of the salt. It tasted way too salty For me, too. I was so disappointed because my grandchildren had never had pineapple upside down cake before. It is a shame because the cake looks so good, but cant be eatEn. I can’t give a rating because of that.
Am going to try this … hope all goes well….. thanks for the recipe
So glad you are! I hope you like it! Good luck!
If I cut the recipe in half, will it work in a cake pan?
It should work just fine 🙂
thanks! for some reason, your answer didn’t show until I posted the second comment.
Cake was dry and actually a bit flavorless. There are so many pop-ups that I couldn’t even make this cake without constantly closing ads! Kinda disappointed
Thanks for your feedback and for giving the recipe a try!
Thank you!! So glad to hear you enjoyed it!
What type of flour?
All purpose flour works great!
Came out dry. Recipe calls for 9×13” pan but it seems a 8×8” would work betterJeanne
This cake is absolutely delish. I made in a 8X10 pan and it turned out lovely. Thanks for such a great recipe
You’re welcome! I’m so glad it was a success! Thanks for giving the recipe a try.
YOU TURNED A GOOD DESSERT INTO A UPSIDE DOWN PINEAPPLE Cake.
NOW I KNOW WHY THEY CALL IT UPSIDE DOWN.
In my opinion, this recipe was very simple and the cake came out beautifully, and delicious!